Army buys in new guns to replace defective G36

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Army buys in new guns to replace defective G36
A German soldier armed with a G36 rifle during training exercises in Poland. Photo: DPA

Some German soldiers will be carrying different weapons within a year as the Defence Ministry scrambles to replace standard rifle which loses accuracy under hot temperatures.


Junior Defence Minister Katrin Suder decided to spend €18 million on 600 new rifles and 600 new machine guns for frontline soldiers to replace some of the defective weapons, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday.

The army will take delivery of the full number of HK417 rifles, a type already in use with some special forces units, by mid-2016.

Recent tests on the new rifle have shown that it suffers none of the accuracy problems seen in the G36 under extreme conditions.

Swapping out just 1,200 of the more than 100,000 rifles used by the army will only be an interim solution for soldiers on deployment in combat zones.

But both replacements will come from the same manufacturer behind the problematic G36 rifle, world-renowned gun maker Heckler and Koch (HK).

Rifle could be changed this year

A more permanent decision about whether to replace the army's entire stock of G36 rifles will come later this year.

The scandal around the Bundeswehr's (German military) standard-issue weapon produced by Heckler and Koch began in the spring when rumours about accuracy problems in hot conditions or when the weapon had been used for sustained fire appeared in the media.

Media reports then emerged suggesting Heckler and Koch had asked Germany's military counterintelligence agency (MAD) to prevent reports about the problems with the weapon being published - with backing from Defence Ministry officials.

Under pressure, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in April that the G36 had "no future" in the military in its current form after an in-depth study demonstrated problems with the weapon.




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